Labor and Childbirth: Support Person's Notes

You may be excited and anxious about the impending labor and childbirth. You may also wonder how you can help. Learning about the birth process can help you know what to expect. And following the suggestions below can help ease you and the mother through this exciting time.

During early labor

  • Be sure to time the contractions.

  • Keep the setting soothing. Dim lights and prevent loud noises. Try playing relaxing music.

  • Suggest that the mother soak in a warm tub to ease the pain of contractions.

  • Try to distract the mother from the contractions with a short walk or massage.

  • Encourage the mother to rest if she's tired.

  • As contractions become stronger, help her use labor breathing techniques.

During active labor

  • Have the mother walk or change position at least once an hour. This improves circulation and helps the baby descend.

  • Keep reminding the mother to breathe and relax through each contraction.

  • Reassure her. Try to keep her from getting anxious or overstressed.

  • Take care of yourself. Take a short break to eat or go to the bathroom when you need to.

  • Rest when the mother does. You'll both benefit.

During a vaginal birth

  • Help the mother into a pushing position. Support her body as she pushes. A semi-sitting or semi-squatting position allows gravity to assist the birth.

  • Remind her to rest between contractions. Encourage her by telling her when the baby's head appears.

  • Keep in mind that you may be masked and gowned for the birth, depending on hospital policy.

During a cesarean birth

  • You will most likely be able to stay with the mother during the cesarean. If you remain with her, you'll wear a mask and surgical gown.

  • Remember that cesarean birth is surgery. The mother's abdominal area will be draped and out of view. Don't touch the draped areas, which are sterile.

  • If you aren't allowed to attend the delivery or aren't comfortable doing so, wait with other friends and family members in the family waiting area.

© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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